Thread Number: 12296
Royal Nameplates Through the Years
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Post# 131646   4/9/2011 at 23:53 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Have you ever looked at a nameplate on various old Royal vacuum cleaners through the years and ever thought to yourself just how long they used each of these variations?

Prior to 1970, the nameplate was riveted to the underside of the motor assembly (a la Kirby) in the middle of both sets of wheels. On a black background, we see the voltage (115 AC/DC), followed by the serial # cast (format is: (MODEL)-(SERIAL)) onto a silver background, and WATTS: 350 (350 watts divided by 115 volts is 3.2 amps) to the right of the top row. The middle row shows the model # followed by the company (ROYAL APPLIANCE MFG. CO., CLEVELAND, OHIO). And the bottom row shows us the patents then covered, and the text "THIS MACHINE EMBODIES INVENTIONS COVERED BY ONE OR MORE OF THE ABOVE PATENTS. OTHER PATENTS PENDING."

Prior to 1954, the nameplate also listed the company as either "THE P. A. GEIER COMPANY" (before about 1951) and "THE ROYAL VACUUM CLEANER CO." (circa 1951-54).

After 1970, the nameplate changed to one which was applied to the back side of the nozzle by the front wheels. On top, the first things we see are the model # (880, for example) and the company name:


The middle row lists the serial number, an example being: 07J-N-15980. The serial # is formatted thus:
0 = calendar year (1970)
7 = decade of calendar year (1970s)
J = calendar year month (September) ("I" was skipped to avoid confusion with the number "1," so "M" is used for the month of December)
N = indicates the line and production shift the vacuum came off of.
15980 = production sequence number.

Next row is the voltage rating (115; 120 after about 1982-83) and the motor rating in watts (400). 400 watts / 115 volts amounts to 3.5 amps. After about 1975, the motor rating was changed to read 3.0 amps.

Next row, we see the list of patents covered in this vacuum to that point, followed by "MANUFACTURED UNDER ONE OR MORE OF THE ABOVE PATENTS - OTHER PATENTS PENDING."

After about 1975-76, the patents were removed from the nameplate, and the motor rating changed to "AMPS 3.0" (later 4.5). (1.2 or 1.8 on the Prince 501, and 8.0 for the canisters/tanks) Newly included information is the Underwriters' Laboratories (U.L.) circle symbol and "CLEANING MACHINE 760G LISTED." "760G" is the U.L. code corresponding to Royal. Prior to this point, the U.L. info was in the form of a decal applied to the near-bottom of the handle assembly, or on a yellow decal applied just right of the nameplate, with the text "CLEANING MACHINE - (U.L. symbol) - 760G LISTED."

In January 1977, the serial # was revised a bit so that the first two digits are the actual calendar year (e.g. "78" is 1978, instead of "87" which after 1/85, would, of course, indicate year 1987). Then, around September/October 1978, the calendar month code preceded the calendar year (so one sees "C79" for March 1979, instead of "79C").

Then, in January 1985, it changed again: We now see Royal's corporate logo on the top left, followed by "ROYAL APPLIANCE MFG. CO., Cleveland, Ohio 44143. Below all that, we see fields for "MODEL NO.," "SERIAL NO.," "VAC." (Volts AC), "HZ." (Hertz), "AMPS." and then concludes with the U.L. corporate symbol and "CLEANING MACHINE, 760G LISTED." The serial # format now looks like this: A85A001341. It breaks down as: A85 = January 1985 (the calendar month code is a letter from A-L, and this time includes "I" to indicate month September); A = line/shift where vacuum came off of; and 001341 = sequence number.

They revised it slightly in January 1986, so that it looks like this: we again see Royal's corporate logo followed by company name and city/zip of corporate HQ's on the top of the decal. Vital statistics remain unchanged (model, serial, volts, etc.). This time, we see "MADE IN U.S.A." before the U.L. information, and the words "CLEANING MACHINE" are removed. All text is in black instead of medium blue. From about 1987-92, the words "MADE IN U.S.A." were also seen below the Royal corporate logo.

I hope this may all help you...


Post# 131648 , Reply# 1   4/9/2011 at 23:55 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
1970-1975 Nameplate

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From a model 801, dated July 1974.

Post# 131649 , Reply# 2   4/9/2011 at 23:56 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
1975-1984 Nameplate

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From a model 611, dated October 1983.

Post# 131650 , Reply# 3   4/9/2011 at 23:57 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
1985 Nameplate

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From a model 501, dated December 1985.

Post# 131651 , Reply# 4   4/9/2011 at 23:58 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
1986-1987 Nameplate

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From a model 880, dated January 1987.

Post# 131652 , Reply# 5   4/9/2011 at 23:58 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
1987-1992 Nameplate

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From a model 662, dated April 1989.

Post# 131653 , Reply# 6   4/10/2011 at 00:02 (4,710 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        

That's a very thorough bit of documentation.  Thanks for pulling all of that information together.  I have wondered why some manufacturers keep revising their format and others retain the same general system for decades.

Post# 131654 , Reply# 7   4/10/2011 at 00:03 (4,710 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Made in U.S.A.

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now, THAT'S an heirloom

Post# 131719 , Reply# 8   4/10/2011 at 11:58 (4,710 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
I know the 1995 and later nameplates are similar in that only the sequence number that ends the string of numbers in the serial # is altered, to have eight digits instead of six (e.g., I95-A-00001001). After TTI took over Royal in 2002, the nameplate (still a decal) was applied back to the pre-1970 location (the underside of the motor rather than the back view of the nozzle), but the serial # format is unchanged.

I also want to point out that on the 1987-2002 nameplates, there is also information regarding the plant the vacuum was made at. I'd think the "A" code regarding the plant refers to the Akron, OH assembly plant (correct me if I'm wrong).


Post# 381886 , Reply# 9   11/28/2017 at 09:40 (2,286 days old) by Vintagevac (Indianapolis born in Detroit )        
Royal age

Good morning all. I'm wondering if anyone can tell me the approximate age of this 801? I will attach a photo of the nameplate. Also, can you tell me the main differences in the 801 vs the 880? I see a lot of recommendations for an 880 but I love the older look of an 801. To be used as my daily driver. Thank you!

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Post# 381898 , Reply# 10   11/28/2017 at 15:09 (2,285 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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This 801 would appear to have been made circa 1965.

Differences between the 801 and the 880:
* The 801, your machine, has a cast headlight; whereas the 880 has a flip-up headlight. The 880 would not have the scent chamber until late 1973/early 1974, which was also the same time that the 801 would switch from a direct-wired cord to the same pigtail (detachable) type cord the 880 has.
* The 801 trim is gray in color; for the 880 it's light blue.
* The 801's bag is a "side-saddle" design colored red and tan; the 880's is more plain, made of vinyl and colored light blue.

Here's a picture of my 1985 Royal 880.


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